Unable to bear the suffering of sentient beings without doing something about it, you generate strong compassion and love, wishing beings to be rid of suffering and to possess happiness. . . . If, no matter what you are doing, in some portion of the mind there remains a constant intense wish for the welfare of sentient beings and a seeking of enlightenment for their sake, you have generated a fully qualified altruistic mind of enlightenment.
It is important to realize that our personalities are not suddenly, and completely transformed as we try to develop such thoughts. Our natures, our characteristic dispositions, change only gradually. Differences are not seen at once, but over time. If we cultivate the altruistic intention to become enlightened slowly and steadily and, after five or ten years have passed, consider the changes that have occurred in our way of thinking and actions, the results of our efforts—the improvement—will be clearly discernible.
— Tenzin Gyatso, The XIV Dalai Lama